Have you ever heard of Screen Sharing?
Who hasn’t, right?
As with the rise of remote work, it has become easy for anyone to understand the instructor’s explanation through screen sharing. But, but, it is not limited to just one meeting and has become widespread in the form of ‘Screencasting’.
From teachers to marketers, screencast videos can showcase software demonstrations, online tutorials, and educational materials.
Yet, recording a screencast video isn’t enough to engage your audience. To truly grab their attention, it’s crucial to have a polished final product regarding video editing.
In this article, we’ll explore a 7-step process for editing your screencast video that will help you create an engaging visual experience for your viewers.
What is a Screencast?
In layman’s terms, a screencast is a video recording of an app’s user interface and features. A screencast includes some audio voiceover and can contain objects like text, images, audio, and even mouse movements.
These are also among the most popular on the web. Research shows that 90% of the top software organizations choose professional screencast videos for their businesses to educate their customers.
It’s almost certain that you have seen one before. If you have ever watched a video tutorial where viewers can see what’s happening on the instructor’s screen, that’s the type of video we call a screencast.
The 7-step process to create an engaging Screencast
Whether you’re making a SaaS screencast for your product, an online screen cast course, or an onboarding video, here’s how you do it, step by step.
1. Make a plan and write a script
When screen casting, we recommend preparing a script for your video.
Consider the audience’s interests and needs when determining the information to convey in your screencast. Then, outline the necessary information and actions to convey that knowledge effectively.
Once you have established the necessary actions to include in your screencast, decide how to represent them visually. Determine if you need to describe everything on the screen or if the visuals alone can convey the information.
Points to keep in mind when writing your script:
2. Install screen recording software
Your best screen recording software should preferably include a video editor that you can use to give your production the necessary finishing touches.
There are dozens of screen recording and editing applications you can choose from, both free and paid. To simplify it, we’ve selected three video editing applications that are robust enough to meet your needs.
OBS is a free and open-source screencasting and streaming application. It has a built-in video recorder lets users record and live-stream free videos.
This tool is easy to install and use, which is an advantage if you don’t have advanced video production skills. It also supports Linux, Windows, and macOS.
One of the best screencast recording software tools on the market. It has features like screen annotations, speech-to-text translations, PowerPoint integration, advanced editing options, and readymade video templates.
It has a free version for trial, and it costs US$ 200.00 to migrate to the full version.
It is a beginner, budget-friendly option with all the necessary recording features. It has a very small learning curve compared to Camtasia but lacks some advanced video editing features.
Paid plans cost US$5/month, giving you access to the premium recording features and the video editor.
3. Choose a microphone
Using your laptop’s built-in microphone can be bad for voice recording. It doesn’t block out background noises, such as hissing, crackling, or echoing, that can spoil your recording.
Use a separate microphone for making your screen captures. There are two categories of microphones depending on how they will be connected to your computer:
You can also use an accessory like a microphone isolation shield to mute noise in the room and filter out the echo. It is usually placed behind the microphone to isolate it from the surrounding environment.
4. Prepare a room for recording
If we talk about the best-quality visual, audio and video go hand-in-hand. If there’s a lot of interference in your recording room or the audio is too low, your audience might lose interest and give up on your screencast.
You can invest in a dedicated recording space. Hence, you can choose a small room, close the windows, and turn off any appliances.
A small room is ideal because it will prevent your voice from echoing off the walls. If you don’t have a dedicated room, put up heavy curtains to put mass between your recording space and the rest of the room.
5. Record the screencast
Before recording, ensure that your programs and files are well-organized for easy access during the recording process.
For instance, if you plan to show how to convert Microsoft Word files to PDFs, place the necessary documents in a separate folder that is accessible. This way, you won’t risk losing track of the files when needed to record your screen.
Additionally, rehearse your presentation by paying attention to your pronunciation and emphasis on specific syllables. Avoid sounding robotic by reading the script with a natural and convincing tone. This will ensure that your delivery is engaging.
Next, it’s time to record your screencast:
6. Edit your screencast recording
Before editing the video of the screencast recording, take the time to watch your whole video footage and note all the changes you want to make and the time code for each edit.
Pro tip: You should duplicate your file before editing in case you accidentally clip out a few important parts.
Editing may start with trimming unwanted video scenes and cutting out dead moments. Dead moments are actions that do not contribute to the message of your video.
For example, there is no reason for viewers to watch you filling out a form or waiting for a website to load.
You can add more clarity to your screencast with “callouts,” such as arrows or circles to draw attention to a specific screen area. You should also zoom in on your video, especially when recording a web page with small text.
Finally, you can add some background music to help set the mood. But keep in mind that your background music should never be louder than your narration.
7. Save and share your screencast
Once you’ve finished your screencast, we recommend saving it as a video file (such as .mp4 or .mov).
You can then embed the video on your website or share it on hosting sites like YouTube and Vimeo. To simplify your uploading task, many screen casting software tools like CamStudio and Screencast-O-Matic let you directly upload your video to any popular hosting site.
The most common types of screencasts
There are four main types of screencasts you can create. Among which the best type that would be suitable for your use case depends on many factors:
1. Narrated screencast videos
The narrated screencast is a popular type of screen casting that combines recorded footage of a computer’s entire screen with spoken narration.
In this video, the creator guides the viewer through a specific task, process, or concept while providing a voiceover commentary that explains what is happening on the screen.
These are often used for instructional or educational purposes. For example, a teacher might create a narrated screencast video to explain a complex topic to their students. A software developer might use such a video to show how to use a new feature in their application.
2. Narrated slidecasts
Narrated slide casts combine recorded audio narration with a slideshow/presentation created with presentation software such as PowerPoint.
In a narrated slide cast, the creator presents a series of slides while providing a voiceover commentary that explains the content of the slides.
These casts are often used for educational or instructional purposes, such as delivering online lectures or creating training materials. They can also be used for marketing purposes, such as creating product demos or webinars.
A well-narrated slide cast usually includes text, images, graphics, and video clips throughout the presentation. If it’s well done, it can provide more value and information to the viewer than a basic screencast.
3. Interactive screencasts
Interactive screencasts take a ‘let me try’ approach that enables learners to engage actively with the software being taught by controlling screen elements.
These screencasts can be simple or complex, depending on the covered content. Interactive elements, such as quizzes or questions, can be added throughout the video to maintain viewer engagement and improve the retention of information.
Interactive screencasts offer endless possibilities, allowing viewers to interact with images, icons, and text on the screen to perform actions. Creators can also add prompts that guide viewers to different parts of the video or entirely different videos.
While interactive screencasts are the most effective type for training and retention, they are also resource-intensive. But, increased engagement and retention benefits make them well worth the effort for technical or complex subjects.
4. Animated screencast videos
These screencasts have added animations and a soundtrack to make them screencast more exciting and engaging. Thus, it is best for shorter screen captures.
Having constant animations and soundtracks throughout an hour-long walkthrough can become distracting and impact the viewers’ understanding of what’s being shared.
Instead, animated screen captures are best when a single function is shown. It helps make the video more engaging and unique, especially if you have a large library of videos.
Animated screen recordings also make for great explainer videos. You can review your app’s key features while showing the problem you’re solving and the outcomes you create.
Tips for creating high-quality videos
1. Record your screen captures at a standard resolution or higher
You’ll likely want to record with minimum standard dimensions of 1280×720 px (720i) to ensure it displays correctly on video hosting sites or your website.
If you make the resolution any smaller, there will be black bars around the edges of your video, and the viewer won’t be able to see what is happening on the screen.
2. Record voice and screen separately
This helps to avoid a situation where you will have to re-record the video because you made a mistake, like narrating a line incorrectly. Do the voiceover separately, check and fix mistakes, and then sync it with the video.
3. Scroll smoothly
Watching someone scroll up and down quickly can make viewers feel disoriented. You can install a smooth scrolling extension like SmoothScroll to make it easier for viewers to follow your movements.
4. Take breaks
No law says you must record your screencast on the first take. If you need a second to gather your thoughts or go to the restroom, take a break. What matters is high-quality content.
5. Keep an eye on your video’s runtime
Your video shouldn’t be too long or tiresome for your audience. Instructional videos can suffer from this problem, especially when the loading of programs is too slow. You can fix this by speeding up parts where the programs took too long to load in the editing stage.
All set to record your screen like a pro?
Editing your screencast video can make all the difference in capturing your audience’s attention. Thus keeping them engaged throughout your presentation. The above methods can perfectly polish your video and create a professional and impactful final product.
Always consider your audience’s needs, keep your script concise and clear, and use editing techniques. This is to enhance the visuals and flow of your screencast.
With a little practice and patience, you can create compelling screencast videos that leave a lasting impression on your viewers. So go ahead, implement these tips, and take your screencast editing skills to the next level!
A DIY approach is workable with screencasting, but a professional video agency can help you create a more engaging screencast video. Thus, to try a professional in this field, you can feel free to contact us.
Editor: Vaishnavi Jain